Hillary Clinton addressed an enthusiastic crowd on Wednesday night at The Fillmore in Fishtown that remained unfazed by disruptions by protestors.
College junior Barry Johnson kicked off the night, calling out to the crowd, “Good evening, everyone. Are you excited to see Hillary Clinton?”
After the supporters let out their roar, Johnson went on to explain his status as a Penn undergraduate and as a fellow for the Clinton campaign.
“I’ve been constantly reminded why Hillary Clinton is the best candidate and also has the most experience to be President of the United States,” Johnson said, before launching into her policy positions. When he mentioned women’s rights, the crowd cheered the loudest.
At the end of the remarks, Johnson said, “One issue that matters most to me is education,” and explained how he had benefited from the Upward Bound program, a program that Clinton helped initiate as First Lady.
“We should not only make education more affordable, but more accessible, and that’s what Hillary Clinton is going to do,” he said.
Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) took the stage a few moments later, expressing his own support for Clinton and listing out choice policy proposals and positions. Next, Malcolm Kenyatta, who works for the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the board of directors of the Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club, also had his turn at the microphone to voice his support for Clinton.
“She has the know-how to get results on day one,” he said passionately.
The crowd had been building in energy and growing in size as the three men were speaking, and when Kenyatta called out, “Join me in welcoming the best fighter I know!” and Clinton walked on to Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song,” the supporters gave out their loudest cheer yet.
She began by thanking Casey, and acknowledging other elected officials, including former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.
“We had a really really good day in New York yesterday,” she said, eliciting a cheer from the crowd.
She also spoke about her connections to Pennsylvania, referencing her father’s childhood in Scranton and her son-in-law’s origins in Philadelphia. The rest of her speech largely covered her policy positions, with a few jabs to her Republican rivals thrown in.
“When I hear Donald Trump and Ted Cruz talk about international issues, I mean, what they say is not only offensive — it’s downright dangerous,” she said.
As Clinton spoke about pay equality for men and women, a group of four or five protestors began shouting and were escorted out. They were wearing matching T-shirts, carrying signs and chanting.
A few minutes later, three more protestors were escorted away separately. One protester was saying, “Don’t vote for Hillary. She’s killing black people.”
The protestors continued to chant outside as supporters exited the event.
Though Clinton did not address the protestors directly, College freshman Abby Lee and sophomore Josh Jordan, who were at the rally, felt that she ended up referencing them when she was speaking about reaching across the aisle.
“What we cannot abide is breaking ourselves into groups where we can’t even talk or listen to each other,” Clinton said.
“I think she’s done a lot to try to meet common ground,” Jordan said, adding that Clinton had previously met with Black Lives Matters activists.
“Honestly, I think that Hillary handled it really well, just the fact that she’s so accepting of other opinions and that she can handle opposition very well,” Lee added.
At the end of her speech, Clinton spoke about looking forward to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. She said it was “fitting” that the convention be held in Philadelphia.
“I want us all to be reminded of the incredible legacy that we’ve all inherited,” she said. “[But] I believe that our best years can still be ahead of us.”
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